Friday, April 17, 2015

Maine's "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act"

April 17, 2015

On a 7-4 vote, the Maine Legislature's Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology rejected the "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act" (LD 883), a proposal to require cell phone manufacturers to place health warning labels on cell phones. 

The bill now goes to the full Legislature as a "divided report." Supporters can try to revive the bill on the Senate or House floor.

For more information about this hearing on April 16, see the Portland Press Herald story.

April 5, 2015

The Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology of the 127th Maine State Legislature held a public hearing on the "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act" (LD 883) on Tuesday, March 31.

The Committee has scheduled a work session for Thursday, April 16, 2015  at 10:00 AM.

The bill requires cell phone manufacturers that include safety notifications in their owner's manuals to ensure that the phone's packaging includes these safety notifications or a label indicating where the safety notifications may be found in the owner's manual. 

The bill prohibits retailers from selling phones without the appropriate labels. It requires manufacturers to provide the safety notifications to retailers at no cost to the retailers. It prohibits retailers from selling phones that do not bear the following label warning that the device emits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields:
"This device emits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Avoid direct contact."
Finally, the bill  requires retailers to provide an information bulletin to the purchaser informing the purchaser of potential health risks associated with cell phone use. A violation of these provisions is considered a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In March, 2014, a similar bill sponsored by Rep. Andrea Boland passed both houses of the Maine Legislature but was killed by cell phone lobbyists who co-opted the Democratic House leadership to switch their votes when it was returned to the originating body for enactment -- normally a routine vote. For more information on Rep. Boland's bill, see my Mar 21, 2014 press release.

The current bill is sponsored by Rep. Harlow of Portland. Co-sponsors include Rep. Beavers (South  Berwick), Chapman (Brooksville), Chipman (Portland), Dunphy (Embden), and Rykerson (Kittery).

Full text of the "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act":

Status of the bill:

Public Hearing Testimony, 11 items

Boland, Andrea M. Sanford
Callahan, Kevin TechAmerica
Clegg, Frank Canadians for Safe Technology
Cobb, Kristen Portland
Cotta, H David China, Maine
Friedman, Ed Friends of Merrymeeting Bay
Harlow, Denise Maine State Legislature
Hart, Debra Retail Association of Maine
Keegan, Gerard CTIA-The Wireless Association
Ory, Dr. Howard CTIA
Turner, James Swankin and Turner


Prior cell phone precautionary warning legislation (LD 1013) in Maine:

Maine lawmakers bow to industry on cellphone labeling bill
Jody Spear, Bangor Daily News, Apr 1, 2014